New York is always a good idea…
I’ve been super lucky to visit this incredible city before and this makes for my 5th trip here. My priority is to put my all in to training and recovery ahead of the Boston Marathon in just a few short weeks – to live, breathe and sleep running, possibly a little more than normal. Appologies in advance if this post reads a little repetitive, I just don’t want to have any gaps in my diary.
Monday 19th March 2018
Wawh! What a day…and a half.
I left KL at 1.30am, part one being a seven hour flight to Doha. I managed to sleep a little and with the time difference arrived at 5am Qatar time. With 3 hours before my connecting flight to JFK airport, there was enough time to find some breakfast.
Part two was always going to be a bit more of a challenge, fourteen hours more of a challenge and what will be the longest flight I’ve ever taken. I had what I will now consider the worst seat; the middle seat in a row of three beside a passenger who was constantly up and down like a yo yo. We flew over the United Kingdom around half way in. It was pretty cool to watch the flight path on the TV screen…just passing through! I love everything about flying and have loads to entertain me on the plane but I did start to become a little restless about 10 hours in, shuffling nonstop to try and get comfy.
Made it! 40 hours later, I arrive smack bang in the middle of Manhattan. I love this place a little bit more every time I come but for tonight shower and sleep are the only things on my mind. I don’t remember ever feeling quite so tired before.
Bedtime by 6pm!
Tuesday 20th March 2018
This is the first time I have experienced real jet lag. I’ve become used to losing or gaining a few hours here and there and my body has adapted quite quickly to new time zones but this wasn’t at all pleasant. If I knew what morning sickness felt like I’d say it feels like day long morning sickness paired with the world’s worst hangover. I felt alright when I first woke up but felt worse as the day went on. It was hard to eat properly but I knew fighting it out to adapt to NYC time was the best thing to do to sort it out.
A trip to Broadway Bagels (which I’d been dreaming about since China) for breakfast helped me to fuel up for a long run later in the day. Although I was feeling a bit yuck, I had to make sure I did my long run today otherwise there wouldn’t be enough recovery time ahead of my 20 miler next week. The first ten miles or so felt fine, better than fine, running around Central Park is a treat for anyone but I started to wilt soon after and the last 5km was an especially tough effort. It was quite a structured session; 17 miles as 5km easy warm up, 3 sets of 5 km at goal marathon pace (8:30-8:45) with 1km recoveries between sets and 5km easy cool down. I knew it was always going to be a bit of an effort so I was actually just happy to have it in the legs with an average pace of 9.14.
Wednesday 21st March 2018
I woke up to one of the most wonderful sights, and a first for me here in America…snow. Snow in New York City. All local schools were shut and the city was unbelievably quiet. The city that never sleeps silent and still, now that’s special.
I did my 30 minute recovery run at an easy pace around the park, stopping to take photographs. There’s something pretty special about running in the snow, so long as it’s not the icy compacted stuff. The park looked like something out of a movie and will be a special memory.
Thursday 22nd March 2018
A complete rest day, in every way.
Friday 23rd March 2018
A 75 minute run this morning as 15 minutes easy warm up with intervals of 4, 8, 10, 8, 4 minutes with 2 minutes easy recoveries and a 15 minute easy cool down.
There is a brilliant smoothie shop just a couple of blocks from the hostel which I kind of wish I hadn’t found so soon as it is likely it will be tempting to make this a post-run daily treat.
I wandered for the rest of the day around Bryant Park and Central Station in the afternoon before going inside the New York Public Library. The perfect (and surreal) spot for a bit of blog catch up.
Saturday 24th March 2018
I have read good things about Levain Bakery, started by two great friends on a mission to create the world’s best chocolate chip cookie. I had an easy run on the plan, and did it as 50 minutes around the streets of Harlem. It was interesting to go uptown rather than downtown for a change and timed perfectly to finish at the bakery for a breakfast of coffee and cookies. I can confirm, they are indeed the best.
A bit of a day for treats, in the afternoon I went to Chelsea Market for lunch. It is an old factory come food market with every type of cuisine imaginable under one roof. I got a sandwich and wandered along the High Line which used to be a bit of a dingy rail line, and has now been transformed in to a park where you can catch some great views of the city.
Sunday 25th March 2018
An easy 45 minute run around the park in the morning before brunch back at the hostel. I went to stock up on some gels for tomorrow’s long run. I want to keep my SiS ones for race day. I know it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to source them here so I don’t mind having to experiment on a training run but I stand by the age old rule – nothing new on race day!
To quote Carrie Bradshaw, “that’s the wonderful thing about New York, on any night of the week you can go to Paris.” Tonight I went to watch a movie at the Paris Theatre. Although it seemed ridiculously expensive for a ticket, there were only a handful of locals and it was pretty special to do something beyond the list of typical ‘touristy’ must dos.
Monday 26th March 2018
Long run day and possibly the most structured and challenging long run I’ve ever done; 2km easy warm up with 10 sets of 2km, odds at goal marathon pace, evens at 10-15 seconds faster, 1 km easy recoveries inbetween followed by an easy cool down. It was tough going to keep picking up the pace on some of the hills in Central Park but doing laps with ‘The Greatest Showman’ soundtrack blasting through my earphones got the job done. It felt brilliant to have that session in the bag and a great one to draw confidence from on race day.
In the evening I met Melissa for dinner. Up until November we hadn’t seen each other for 9 years and now we have been lucky enough to see each other twice within eight months! We went to a fab gluten free Italian in lower Manhattan called Senza Gluten. Great company and great food…far from another manic Monday!
Tuesday 27th March 2018
Today was another rest day post long run. Thee most delicious American pancake breakfast (I have a cheek after what I ate last night!) book, blog and chill.
Wednesday 28th March 2018
Much as I am absolutely loving training in Central Park, I wanted to mix it up a little and explore other areas of the city on foot. I had an easy 60 minutes to do so ran along the Hudson River (after catching the subway a little downtown). I finished up at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal so got a coffee and sat in Battery Park to watch the world go by before catching the subway back to the hostel. Luckily the red line was directly opposite the park so I didn’t really have far to go.
Thursday 29th March 2018
Another day of training, another coffee and bakery. Today my session was 75 minutes; 30 minutes easy pace followed by 20 minutes as 1x hard, 1 x easy and finishing with 25 mins at goal marathon pace with a wee trip afterwards to Magnolia Bakery for coffee and one of their famous cupcakes.
Friday 30th March 2018
A second rest day this week. With the 20 miler in the bag and Boston only 17 days away, it’s now time to start tapering, keeping the frequency consistent, so still running 5-6 days but reducing the volume of the sessions. Essentially tapering means running less and resting more. The main aim being to reduce any fatigue that has built up over the training block and prioritise the opportunity to really focus on my mental strategy and nutrition.
Saturday 31st March 2018
Back to the park today and this time to the running track. I would never tire of the views of the skyline in the distance.
Kat’z Deli for lunch, it is thought of as an NYC landmark in its own right. It is the oldest deli in the city, serving mile high pastrami sandwiches with the biggest sour pickles you’ve ever seen. I would definitely recommend a visit. It is a bit like a cafeteria, you are given a ticket on your way in the door which the chef will use to record your order on and goodness help you if you lose it when it comes time for paying. There is also a big sign hanging on the ceiling to show the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene from the movie ‘When Harry met Sally’. Just be sure to go when you’re hungry!
Sunday 1st April 2018
This will be the last double digit run before Boston, time is going so fast. My session today was 1:45 as 75 minutes easy with the final 30 minutes at goal marathon pace and undulating.
I refuelled afterwards with an acai bowl from the lovely smoothie shop and had a lazy afternoon watching Netflix.
Monday 2nd April 2018
Another rest day and another day of snow, quite hard to believe in April when it’s supposedly Spring. I had the loveliest of catch ups with Lois and Russell this morning as they are in the city for a few days over Easter break. It was totally surreal all standing together in Times Square, great to see you both and hear all your news. Thanks for the coffee, Russell!
Tuesday 3rd April 2018
My training session was 60 minutes as 15 minutes easy, 10 x 30s hard, fast hills around 6:30-6:50 pace with jog recoveries followed by 20 minutes at marathon pace and a 15 minute easy cool down. I’ve been feeling unusually emotional these last few days, especially when I am out running. I think deep down, now that this incredible journey is coming to an end, I have all the time in the world to reflect on it and think about how lucky I have been.
A bit drookit!…
Wednesday 4th April 2018
30 minutes easy recovery run around Strawberry Fields to start the day off nicely. It is an area in Central Park that is dedicated to the memory of Beatles star, John Lennon. Afterwards I walked to the City Bakery, part bakery part coffee bar and the place where Carrie Bradshaw says have the best chocolate brownies in the city. Well if it’s good enough for Carrie… I walked around Midtown to the Empire State and Flat Iron buildings, two iconic New York sights which never fail to blow me away.
Thursday 5th April 2018
Running has already given me so many magical moments, especially over this last year and this morning was definitely one of them…a sunrise run over the Brooklyn Bridge with the sight of the Manhattan skyline the background. I feel beyond lucky for the opportunities running has given me and this run was definitely up there with the best of them. I ran to Brooklyn Heights which is a bit of a posh residential area full of brownstone buildings and ‘stoops’ and the place where you can get a fantastic view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty from the promenade. I enjoyed walking around the streets of Brooklyn and treated myself to breakfast at a wee café close by to the bridge.
I did have a threshold run scheduled for today and although I’d run this morning, it was just a jolly so had planned to go back to the park in the evening for round two. My legs felt tired and I had quite a few cramps which I think was really just a bit of ‘maranoia’. Although the run didn’t go to plan, it made for the most beautiful sunset. What an amazing day the 5th of April 2018 has been.
Friday 6th April 2018
Though I vowed never again, this morning for old time sake I am taking the Greyhound to Boston, Massachusetts. It is the cheapest option and there are no stop offs which turned out to be fairly painless. I will forever love this city. Thank you for looking after me, New York.
“As for New York City, it is a place apart. There is not its match in any other country in the world.” – Pearl S. Buck –
Six Star Finisher… I’m coming for you!